Q/A: Do I Have to Accept Any New Patient?

September 24th, 2018 - Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
Categories:   Billing   Compliance   HIPAA|PHI   Practice Management  
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Question

Is it legal for us to not allow a patient to be seen in our office if their parents have bad debt with us? We have a family who has a history of taking a VERY long time to pay their balance. The parent wants to schedule another child for an appointment. Can we not accept him because of his parents bad payment history?

Answer

According to a legal website, by law, physicians cannot refuse to accept a person for ethnic, racial, or religious reasons. Nor can they discriminate based on the person's sex, unless the sex of the patient is relevant to the physician's specialty.

This situation does not meet those limitations, so it is entirely up to you. If the individual is of legal age though and is financially responsible for the bill, then you might want to have him complete the financial policy paperwork so he understands what his personal responsibility will be. However, that is entirely up to you. See “Step 2. Establishing Patient Financial Responsibility” on page 21 of the 2018 ChiroCode DeskBook.

Just don't come up with a lie, like you aren't taking new patients when you really are, because then you could be held liable for false statements.

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